Key words: Pelvic organs, MR—Pelvis, MR—Pelvic organ, neoplasms—Fistula, colonic—Fistula, enterovesical—Fistula, enterocutaneous.
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. Background: This multi-institutional study examines appearances of pelvic fistulas on magnetic resonance (MR) images. Methods: MR images of 46 patients with documented fistulas from five teaching hospitals were retrospectively reviewed. All patients underwent T1-weighted (T1WI), T2-weighted (T2WI), and intravenous gadolinium chelate-enhanced T1-weighted (Gd-T1WI) images. Imaging sequences were separately and then collectively reviewed. The following determinations were made: fistula detection, fistula morphology and signal intensity, and the presence of associated abnormalities. Fistulas were classified into two categories: (1) fistulas that communicate with the bladder and (2) fistulas that do not communicate with the bladder. Fistulas within these two groups were subclassified further. The presence of fistulas was documented by surgery (five patients), endoscopy (six patients), fistulogram (20 patients), or physical exam (15 patients). Results: Among the 46 patients, 53 fistulas were documented by means other than MR. Overall T1WI, T2W1 and Gd-T1WI images demonstrated 23, 31, and 39 of 53 fistulas, respectively. Gd-T1W1 detected significantly more fistulas than T1W1 (p 〈 0.05). Bladder fistulas were better shown on Gd-T1WI (8/15 fistulas) than on T1WI and T2WI (2/15 and 3/15) (p 〈 0.05). Nonbladder fistulas were demonstrated by T1WI, T2WI, and Gd-T1WI images in 21, 28, and 31 of 38 fistulas, respectively. Among all fistulas, perianal fistulas (a subcategory of nonbladder fistula) had the highest detection by T1WI, T2WI, and Gd-T1WI in 19, 20 and 22 of 23 fistulas, respectively. On T1WI, 19 of 23 detected fistulas were low in signal intensity. On T2WI, 28 of 39 detected fistulas were high in signal intensity. On Gd-T1WI images, 29 of 40 fistulas were low in signal intensity, with enhanced tract wall. Conclusion: Bladder fistulas were best shown on Gd-T1WI, which was significantly greater than on T1WI or T2WI. Nonbladder fistulas were comparably shown by all techniques, with all performing modestly well. Perianal fistulas were shown equally well by all MR sequences and were the fistulas demonstrated with the highest sensitivity on MR images.
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